The California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Cal Poly’s Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium will co-sponsor a two-day conference on sustainable pest control for agricultural consultants and growers on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2, in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Workshops on Dec. 1 will address incorporating sustainable agricultural practices into a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management program. The Dec. 2 agenda features a workshop entitled “Assessing Operational Sustainability from a Pest Management Perspective” at the beautiful Castoro Cellars winery in Templeton. Continuing education units are available for participants.

The conference offers a wealth of information on biologically integrated pest control, including updates on pesticide resistance management strategies, non-toxic vertebrate pest control, beneficial soil organisms, new IPM programs offered through the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), important regulatory issues and risk reduction strategies for certified organic operations.

The topic of this year’s annual round table presentation will be Vertebrate Pest Control. The discussion will be led by Cal Poly’s David Headrick with Senior Public Health Biologist Richard Davis, UCCE Farm Advisor Rachel Long and Josh Reilly, Santa Cruz County IPM coordinator. The tools and methods featured at this event will benefit conventional and organic growers alike.

The Dec. 2 workshop at Castoro Cellars is titled “Assessing Operational Sustainability from a Pest Management Perspective.” Participants will learn about the natural (ecosystem), human (societal) and engineered (infrastructure) environments to help participants maximize operational sustainability on farms. The use of beneficial soil organisms, solar energy, bio-fuels, and the cultivation of ecological habitat will be outlined.

Special guest presenters include Cal Poly Professors Tom Ruehr and Terry Vassey, SLO Agricultural Commissioner Bob Lilley, UC entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Earthbound Farm Director of Quality Assurance Will Daniels, Jason Hoar - President of Agri-Fuels, Ryan Park of REC Solar, farm energy specialist Mike Morris of ATTRA, Jean-Pierre Wolff of Wolff Vineyards, and more!

The early registration fee for applications postmarked before Nov. 15 is $150 for Dec. 1 and $65 for Dec. 2. The cost after Nov. 15 is $175 and $75.

The fee for students with valid identification is $35 for Dec. 1, $20 for Dec. 2. Fees include parking, breakfast, lunch, refreshments and qualification for Continuing Education Units (CEU) upon successful completion of conference.

Fourteen Continuing Education Units (CEUs) have been approved by the CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulations for PCAs attending both days, including 3.5 “Laws and Regulations” units (on Day 1). A total of 12 CEUs are available for Certified Crop Advisors. 7 ‘Ag Waiver’ Units are also being made available, by the Statewide Regional Water Quality Control Board.

For more information, visit www.ccof.org/pcaconference.php, call Colleen at 831-423-2263, ext. 27, or e-mail colleen@ccof.org.